Starbucks matcha marches into the Via lineup with new, Japan-exclusive green tea drink mix

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

The powdered drink series isn’t just for coffee anymore.

While most people immediately think “coffee” when they hear “Starbucks,” the immensely popular chain of cafes also does a brisk business in teas at its Japanese locations. In 2001, the chain introduced the Matcha Cream Frappuccino, which predated the current matcha sweets boom by several years and paved the way for this year’s Chocolate Brownie Matcha, plus the matcha tea latte, which was added to the menu in 2006.

Now, Starbucks is bringing out the first Japan-exclusive item in its Via line of instant beverage mixes: Tea Essence Matcha.

▼ Tea Essence Matcha, hanging out with its coffee-based Via half-siblings

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The matcha Via contains the same domestically produced matcha tea powder as Starbucks uses for its barista-prepared beverages while offering the convenience and portability of Via’s powdered drink bases. Starbucks recommends mixing the contents of a pack with milk for a rich, relaxing cup of matcha latte.

Matcha Via goes on sale June 17 at Starbucks Japan branches and through the company’s online store, priced at 650 yen (US$5.90) for a pack of five.

Matcha (green tea) beer is a thing in Japan

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RocketNews 24:

The history of beer – man’s most delicious way of getting inebriated – is long and winding, with many fad flavors and failed attempts at new brewing methods. We’ve seen beer infused with marijuana (failure), blueberry beer (failure), wheat beer (resounding success), even chocolate beer (success by virtue of having chocolate in it).

Until now though, we’d never heard of the surprisingly intuitive combination of beer and matcha. Looking back, it makes so much sense: two complementary bitter flavors, combined to create an appealing, marbled green-colored beverage that St. Patrick would have loved if he hadn’t, in reality, been a total prude.

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The matcha even fluffs up the beer foam for a beverage with a rich, velvety head that borders on physically impossible to stop drinking.

While this ingenious beer does come pre-bottled, it’s also deceptively simple to make at home, provided you have access to some decent matcha powder: All it takes is about a half teaspoon of matcha powder dissolved in a half-glass of warm water. Fill the glass the rest of the way with a non-faux beer of your choice and, if you’re not totally inept at even the simplest of recipes, you should end up with a richly marbled matcha beer cocktail.

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The drink is catching on at bars and restaurants in Japan, especially in the Kyoto area, where it’s proving popular with women for its lower alcohol content and less bitter taste compared to draft beer.

Some Japanese Twitter users are already uploading pics of their home-made matcha beer creations, some of which have a mildly disturbing dark, brownish-green hue, indicating conservative use of matcha powder is key to this cocktail.

▼ Twitter user gracenaho’s slightly off-putting home-made version.

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Why not give this one a try and let us know how it goes in the comments? We’ll just play it safe and buy the bottled stuff, thank you.

▼ A six-pack of matcha beer from Nagoya brewery, Kinshachi

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Krispy Kreme Japan brings us more doughnut ice cream sundaes and sweet tea summertime treats!

KKD 1 top comboRocketNews 24:

 

Okay, when Krispy Kreme Japan came out with the sinfully delectable-looking doughnut ice cream sundaes in April this year, we kind of thought they were the dessert of our dreams. Well, the original doughnut ice cream sundaes we introduced to you in our previous article may be available only until July 14, but luckily for us, sweets makers and pastry chefs always seem to have a way of coming up with another new dream dessert.

This time, it’s still a lovely doughnut and ice cream creation, but in a new refreshing flavor with a Japanese twist — matcha green tea! And they also have other new delightful snacks and drinks as well that will all be coming out later this month, so let’s take a look at the new Krispy Kreme offerings, and hope the wait until they become available won’t drive us crazy!

As excited as we were about the caramel & yogurt and blueberry & yogurt ice cream sundaes that came out in April, this “Doughnut Ice Green Tea & Cookie” (450 yen [US$4.40]) also has to be a flavor we can look forward to. It’s made from Krispy Kreme’s signature original glazed doughnut served with green tea ice cream, topped with a smooth green tea jelly, green tea chocolate and crunchy cookie crumbles. If that description sounds delicious, we totally agree — it’s bound to satisfy with the aroma of green tea and the contrasting yet pleasant texture of the jelly and cookie crumbles.

 

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They also have three new doughnut flavors that look so tempting, you’ll be hard pressed to choose between them.

 

▼There’s the “Matcha Cookie Crunch” (230 yen [$2.25]), a beautifully colored doughnut creation covered with green tea chocolate and cocoa-flavored cookie crumbles and checkered with white and green tea chocolate. KKD 3 matcha cookie crunch resize

▼They also have the “Bergamot & Lemon Tea” doughnut (230yen), which is covered with tea-flavored jelly and chocolate, then artfully topped with pieces of orange peel and white chocolate stripes.KKD 4 donut bergamot and lemontea

▼And here’s the “Earl Grey Milk Tea Cake” doughnut (210 yen [$2]), made from dough containing earl grey tea leaves and covered with milk tea flavored chocolate topped with graham cookie crumbles. KKD 5 earlgrey mil tea

▼Just in case individual doughnuts aren’t enough for you, they also have a “Tea Time Dozen” pack (2,000 yen [$19.60]), which includes the three new doughnuts and the original glazed and mixed berry doughnuts as well — great for a summer tea party!KKD dozen

And if you need to take a break from the summer heat, they also have two cool refreshing Chiller flavors,the “Chillers Ice Uji Matcha Jelly” (right) and  the “Chillers Ice Peach Tea Yogurt” (left), both priced at 480 yen ($4.70). The Uji Matcha Jelly Chiller is a veritable green tea feast, a frozen green tea drink containing jelly made from premium green tea from the Uji area in Kyoto and green tea ice cream topped with green tea chocolate sauce and cocoa flavored cookie crumbles. The Peach Tea Yogurt Chiller is another scrumptious-looking frozen dessert drink containing peach purée sauce, earl grey tea and yogurt, as well as vanilla ice cream topped with peach sauce and graham cookie crumbles.

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Now, don’t all of these treats look amazing? We, for one, can’t wait to try them, and we don’t think you can blame us for feeling that way, especially after seeing these photos. The green tea flavored doughnut ice cream sundae and Chiller in particular should make for a refreshing summer dessert or snack, and they could well be a big hit since green tea sweets have always been popular in Japan. The new products will all be sold from July 15 to September 9, so here’s hoping we can all enjoy a cool and sweet summer!

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15 beautiful Japanese sweets to cool you down this summer

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

Japanese summers are hard to bear. With high humidity levels, the energy-sapping heat has such an overwhelming effect on the body there’s even a word for summer lethargy in the Japanese lexicon: natsubate.

Luckily for us, Japan has developed a number of unique ways to fight the summer heat. One of the best ways to cool down is in the sensory pleasure of traditional Japanese sweets featuring watery wonderlands, night skies and gorgeous hues of blue. We’ve found 15 of the best summer sweets that are so amazing they’re more like edible works of art.

 

Natsu Temari

This sweet resembles a traditional hand-woven handball called a temari, which children play with in summer. Natsu temari means summer handball.

 

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Lace Kan

Made from Kanten, or agar-agar, a healthy vegetable gelatin, this sweet is full of lemon and honey flavors. The kanten texture is as delicate as lace.

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Goldfish Sweet 

Fish are a popular summer motif and this one has got to be one of the most adorable we’ve seen! Available from the famous, centuries-old sweet shop Toraya, you can change the scenery of the sweet by using different colored serving plates, thanks to the crystal clear kanten jelly.

 

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Mini Aquarium Jellies 

These homemade jellies by Miki Nagata have a hint of blue added to the kanten mixture.

 

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Koi Carp Jelly 

Now you can gaze into a koi carp pond and devour it at the same time! This homemade creation includes agar, sweet red peas, sweet dainagon beans, black sesame seeds, matcha powder and white bean paste.

 

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Goldfish Bowl

Available from the traditional sweet shop Kourakuya, the attention to detail includes fish bodies gently poking through the surface of the water.

 

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Milky Way

Night skies are another popular motif to help keep cool in summer. Red bean paste and layers of blue-green hues mixed with gold flakes create a starry skyscape to transport you to the cold regions of space.

 

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Starry Evening

This sweet captures the stars and moon and encloses them in a glistening casing.

 

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Clear Stream

There are also a number of sweets that replicate water. This one uses aquamarine hues to create a running stream frozen in time.

 

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Water’s Lodge

Another one from Toraya, this sweet serves up the crest of a wave.

 

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Ice Candies

These candies are created to look just like shards of frozen ice.

 

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Shingen Mochi

This is the amazing water cake from Yamanashi Prefecture that’s such a delicate casing of pure water it disappears within 30 minutes of being served.

 

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Present from the Seashore

This sweet is presented in closed clam shells which reveal an amber jelly when opened. In the middle there’s a salty nib of dried natto, a fermented soy bean.

 

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Yoimatsuri

Literally meaning evening festival, this yoimatsuri sweet captures the lanterns, an early evening sky and all the frivolity of a Japanese summer festival.

 

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Kumo no Mine

From Toraya, this one translates to Peak of a Cloud and is such a perfect representation of a summer cloud it’s almost like a photograph.

 

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Next time you’re feeling hot this summer, you might want to look into a Japanese confectionery purchase.

 

Check out this link:

15 beautiful Japanese sweets to cool you down this summer

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Starbucks’ Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino, now available in muffin form in Hong Kong

 

 

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FoodBeast:

 

Let’s be real: who hasn’t taken a swig of a Starbucks Frappuccino and thought, “damn, this would be amazing if I could eat it?” Not to worry, Starbucks Hong Kong hears your inner voice loud and clear.

Coinciding with the return of its Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino — a blend of bitter matcha powder and frapp base topped with sweet red beans — Starbucks’s Red Bean Green Tea Muffin looks a bit like a mossy hill covered in oversized mushrooms. We can only presume the two are meant to be enjoyed together, though with that many calories, maybe we should have gone with a cake pop or macaron instead?

 

Check out this link:

Starbucks’ Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino, now available in muffin form in Hong Kong

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15 Iconic Asian snacks you need to try…

1. Haw Flakes

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Why You Should Try It: The Chinese hawthorn fruit is kind of a strange enigma, but a roll of these tangy bad boys will get you quickly addicted.

2. Dried Squid

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Why You Should Try It: Before you make that face, reimagine these as basically stringy jerky with a tinge of seafood taste. It’s a fun savory snack alternative that you won’t feel guilty about consuming.

3. Cuttlefish Chips

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Why You Should Try It: These melt-in-your-mouth snackables are comparable to famous shrimp chips.

4. Lychee Jelly

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Why You Should Try It: If you like lychee, these tiny cups of jelly are dangerously addictive. They’re packed with sweet juiciness and some even surprise you with pieces of real lychee inside.

5. Asian Rice Crackers

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Why You Should Try It: Another Asian childhood staple, these do not even compare to the “rice crackers” you find in your local grocery aisle. The golden crisps are packed with a special (albeit MSG-induced) flavor that really challenges the bland Western version.

6. Yakult Milk

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Why You Should Try It: Let’s be honest…no one really knows what’s inside a bottle of Yakult “Cultured Milk,” but we’ve stopped wondering. This Japanese product offers the wonderfully tangy taste of yogurt in a shot-sized case, and it’s become so popular, it’s now found in larger bottles in a variety of flavors.

7. Umaibo Wafer Sticks

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Why You Should Try It: “Umaibo” means “delicious stick” in Japanese, and it’s pretty accurate: These cylindrical puffs come in all sorts of yummy flavors (cheese being one of the most popular), and they offer a soft wafer-y crunch.

8. Real Mochi

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Why You Should Try It: You’ve probably already indulged in a delectable mochi with ice cream filling, but straight OG mochi is a little less accessible to the average palette. Still, the chewy snack can satisfy a slight sweet tooth while giving your jaw a great work out.

9. Aloo Bhujia

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Why You Should Try It: The spicy curry accents of these Indian dried potato noodles are highly addictive. *Disclaimer: once you open a bag, you will find tiny trails of these in your keyboards, on your lap, and in your hair.

10. Fish Pastries

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Why You Should Try It: The Korean/Japanese “Bungeoppang or “Taiyaki” snacks taste nothing like the depicted animal: It’s a fish-shaped waffle casing with red bean paste (and sometimes ice cream!) filling.

11. American Munchies in Green Tea Flavors

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Why You Should Try It: Everything is better in green tea (macha) flavor!

12. “Boy Bawang” Garlic Bites

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Why You Should Try It: A true Filipino staple, the garlic superhero snack comes in a plethora of flavors, but garlic is by far the most popular. Warning: It will do wonders to your breath.

13. White Rabbit Cream Candies

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Why You Should Try It: The classic Asian treat melts on your tongue beautifully like a blanket of milky syrup. Plus, each candy is only 20 calories.

14. Dried Mini Fish

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Why You Should Try It: As unappetizing as it may look, these extremely salty mini fish perfectly complement blander foods like rice, porridge, or bread. The Japanese version also comes with roasted almonds.

15. Sweet and Salty Dried Plums

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Why You Should Try It: If you want to take your taste buds for a ride, pop in one of these shriveled plum candies: It will start off salty, melt to sweet, and then kick you with a sharp sour.

Check out this link:

15 Iconic Asian snacks you need to try…

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7-Eleven Japan introduces green tea/azuki bean popsicles

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First 7-Eleven Japan gets Hot Ginger Ale, and now it has Green Tea Azuki Bean Bars in the freezer section. It consists of a shell of matcha ice cream frozen around a center of sweet, chewy azuki beans.

Be warned, if you’re not a fan of the strong tea flavor, this probably isn’t for you, though the sweetness of the azuki might counteract some of the matcha’s bitterness. But hey, the ice cream only sets you back 130 yen (US$1.30), so it’s definitely at least worth a try.

Check out this link:

7-Eleven Japan introduces green tea/azuki bean popsicles

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